Earlier this year, Patrick Lagreid reviewed the Faraón Ramses, a cigar from the relatively unheard of Humidores Dominicanos, a Dominican brand that was coming to the U.S.
While there have been a handful of companies from the Dominican Republic that have started as local Dominican brands before entering the U.S. market, Humidores Dominicanos has the interesting distinction of having its products made at one of the largest cigar factories in the world: General Cigar Dominicana.
The company sells its three lines of cigars under the Faraón name, which has an Egyptian theme: Esfinge (Connecticut wrapper), Ramses (habano wrapper) and Tutankamon (maduro). The Tutankamon is offered in three sizes—5 1/2 x 45, 6 x 60 and 6 x 60—and uses a Connecticut broadleaf wrapper, American habano binder and filler tobaccos from the Dominican Republic, Honduras, Nicaragua and the United States.
If you haven’t heard of Tutankamon, you’ve probably seen him. Americans will be more familiar with the spelling Tutankhamun, or his more popular name King Tut, an Egyptian pharaoh best known for the discovery of his grave site. In 1922, his tomb was discovered and more remarkably, it was found relatively intact. What was found gave historians and the general public an immense understanding of the burials of ancient Egyptian pharaohs.
- Cigar Reviewed: Faraón Tutankamon Toro
- Country of Origin: Dominican Republic
- Factory: General Cigar Dominicana
- Wrapper: Connecticut Broadleaf
- Binder: American Habano
- Filler: Dominican Republic, Honduras, Nicaragua and the United States
- Length: 6 Inches
- Ring Gauge: 50
- Vitola: Toro
- MSRP: $8.10 (Boxes of 20, $162)
- Release Date: April 29, 2016
- Number of Cigars Released: Regular Production
- Number of Cigars Smoked For Review: 3
The dark wrapper gives off an aroma of sweet cocoa, orange peel, some uncooked brown rice and a weird mixture of sweetness and bitter flavors. I am immediately reminded of a curing room upon smelling the foot as there’s a sweet aroma, almost like molasses with a touch of chocolate, along with some ammonia and touches of cedar. The cold draws preview the start of what becomes a signature issue for the Tutankamon; there is a wide range in the tightness of the draw. On two samples, I find the draw to be open with a pleasant mixture of cocoa, Dr. Pepper, and Atomic Fireballs, while on a cigar with a tight draw there’s a simple mixture of breads and mild pepper.
Interestingly, the Tutankamons begins relatively consistently with a lot of oak, Nilla wafers, pizza crust and some generic woods through the nose. After an inch, the forest of woods remains, particularly in the mouth, where it is joined by some coffee grinds and pecans. Through the nose there’s contrasting spiciness in the form of both cinnamon and black pepper while white pepper hits the back of the throat. The finish has wet bark, pinecones, grapefruit zest and sunflower seeds; though 30 seconds after the smoke leaves my mouth the Tutankamon leaves my palate covered in a manner similar to a strong espresso. Construction differs depending on the samples with loose draws producing below average smoke production and a tight draw producing lots of smoke. Unfortunately, there’s no Goldilocks syndrome and I cannot find a cigar with a happy medium.
By the second third, it’s very much a story of two cigars. For the samples with the loose draws, I’m relighting the cigar every inch at a minimum, something that leads to me giving up at trying to track the flavors as I’m fairly confident the muddled profile is due to the relights. With a tight draw comes consistent smoke production and a profile that now sees grassiness and meatiness challenge the woods for the main characteristic of the Tutankamon. It’s a decent mixture, though my mouth—particularly my throat—is getting very dry. The bark is no longer present through the nose, but the grapefruit and sunflower seed remains. My dry throat is no longer coated heavily with pepper, though there’s still some traces of the white pepper. The finish still reminds me of espresso, though it’s definitely getting closer to a simple cup of black coffee. Strength picks up to medium-plus, body remains full and the flavor is very much full. Even on the sample with the tight draw, I find myself needing to make a touch-up, though the cigar remains lit.
The woodiness begins to turn more whiskey-like with a big increase in toastiness hitting just as the final third begins and a bit of harshness on the tongue. Through the nose there’s some creaminess joining a generic fruity flavor—borderline red wine—and some breads. The finish remains incredibly consistent: the final sips of an espresso just lingering on the palate. I’m curious to know what chemical reaction is taking place, but the Tutankamon has a burning sensation against my lips, almost like rubbing some jalapeño across it. I manage to make it through the cigar without the draw tightening or the burn going out, at least for the tight samples, while the loose samples continue to require relights. As for the strength, it finishes at a solid medium-full.
- The loose draws caused issues with trying to keep the cigar lit. After spending a bit more time examining various cigars in the box, I’m led to believe it’s an issue of inwwconsistent filling.
- General Cigar Dominicana is not a factory that comes to mind at all when thinking of private labels.
- I studied history in college, though Egyptian history was certainly not a specialty. That being said, I’ve always found Tutankhamun to be relatively unremarkable—at least as far as Egyptian pharaohs go—other than for the fact that his tombs were left relatively intact. It’s not to say his life was boring, but if you had to pick interesting pharaohs based on their lives, he’s not high up on the list at all.
- I know that blue isn’t used widely on cigars, but I think it would have been a good call for the bands. Because of the burial mask there’s an association with blue and Tutankhamun that seems to be a missed opportunity here.
- Strength ends getting close to the full mark.
- Final smoking time was two hours and 15 minutes on average.
- Cigars for this review were provided by Humidores Dominicanos.
I certainly wouldn’t have pegged this as a General Dominicana product. While I’ve learned that the factory can produce a wide range of cigars, this was certainly stronger than most, particularly in the final third. That all being said, the Tutankamon suffered from construction issues and the consistency of said construction. As a policy, we pick three cigars at random, not the three cigars that seem like they were rolled the best, and unfortunately for Faraones, none of the cigars I smoked exhibited construction that exudes confidence and the score to the right certainly reflects that.